Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

January 31st, 2015

 

Abraham Lincoln said, “Stories are the shortest distance between a stranger and a friend.” Lincoln understood the power of a story.  It was a tool that allowed him to quickly and dramatically connect with people.

I will share the techniques Lincoln used to tell a story in my presentation on Wednesday (Feb. 4) at 3:30 p.m. at the Arizona Senior Academy.

Based on my newest book, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones,” I will illustrate Lincoln’s methods of mimicry, self-effacing humor, and adding a moral or surprise twist to a story.

I will also discuss the following five examples of why Lincoln told stories.

 1) To replace depression with an anecdote

Friends of Lincoln commented that he was able to snap himself out of a seemingly deep depression by telling a funny story.

Judge David Davis (of the Eighth Circuit Court in Illinois, the Court where Lincoln practiced law), said that after long days in court,

“If Lincoln was oppressed, the feeling was soon relieved by the narration of a story. The tavern loungers enjoyed it, and his melancholy, taking to itself wings, seemed to fly away.”

2) As safety-valve to relieve stress

Do you think that your life is stressful because you have a raving boss and a dysfunctional family life, while at the same time trying to find enough money to make ends meet?

Consider for a moment how stressful Lincoln’s life was. He was President during an unpopular war that he seemed to be losing; the majority of his Cabinet members thought that he was an ignoramus and they all could do a better job as President; and, a hysterical wife made his home life seem like A Nightmare on Elm Street. If Lincoln had been under any more pressure he would have turned into a diamond.

Given the situation that he found himself, it’s only natural that he needed some way to blow off steam and relieve the pressure. He did that though storytelling.

It was common for Lincoln to liven up a Cabinet meeting by telling a story or by reading some humorous quotes from his favorite authors Artemus Ward and Robert Newell (both genial newspaper critics who supported Lincoln’s policies.)  When nit-picky Cabinet members failed to appreciate the humor as he did, Lincoln reproached them by saying,

“Gentlemen, why don’t you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me night and day, if I did not laugh occasionally I should die, and you need this medicine as much as I do.”

3) To avoid making a commitment

 It seemed that nearly everyone (in addition to the aforementioned salted mixed-nuts in the President’s Cabinet) thought they could run the county better than Lincoln, and they were not shy about coming to the White House to tell him so.

Lincoln often used stories as a sort of insect repellant against the army ant horde of know-it-alls who came to his office with their harebrained schemes. Law partner, William Herndon, observed Lincoln’s methods as,

“. . .  Swinging around what he suspected was the vital point, but never nearing it, interlacing his answers with a seemingly endless supply of stories and jokes.”

Visitors would leave his office feeling they had persuaded the president to their way of thinking, but once having walked only a few blocks they realized they had been bamboozled by Lincoln’s tricky verbal manipulations, or as Herndon put it,

“[After] blowing away the froth of Lincoln’s humorous narratives, they would find nothing left.”

 4) To soften the blow of having to tell someone “no”

 Lincoln received many “favor seekers” to his office. Often they were upset because he had fired a relative who was in line to become a general, or because he backed a program that ran against their interest, or he failed to give a job to a “qualified” candidate.  Lincoln politely welcomed them all and immediately waylaid them with a story.  These visitors left his company without what they came for but with only with what they were given: a story with a message for them to think about.

One example of how Lincoln used stories to soften a refusal was when Senator John Creswell (a loyal Republican supporter of Lincoln) came to Lincoln to request the release of an old friend who had been captured and imprisoned.

Creswell admitted,

“I know the man has acted like a fool, but he is my friend, and a good fellow; let him out; give him to me, and I will be responsible that he will have nothing further to do with the rebels.”

Lincoln contemplated the request. It reminded him of a group of young people who went on a little country excursion. They crossed a shallow stream in a flatboat, but on their way back they found that the boat had disappeared. So each boy picked up a girl and carried her across, until the only ones remaining were a little short chap and a great “Gothic-built” old maid. Lincoln complained,

Jefferson Davis

“Now Creswell, you are trying to leave me in the same predicament. You fellows are all getting your friends out of this scrape; and you will succeed in carrying off one after another, until nobody but Jeff Davis [President of the Confederate States] and myself will be left, and then I won’t know what to do. How should I feel? How should I look, lugging him over?”

5) To point out flaws in logic

 Combined with his rapier wit, Lincoln’s proclivity for logic enabled him to point out the absurdity of an argument with a casual jest.

Supporters of an applicant for the position of Commissioner of the Hawaiian Islands tried to convince Lincoln that their man was both competent for the post but also in dire need it because the climate was good his health.

Lincoln responded:

“Gentlemen, there are eight other applicants for that position, and they are all sicker’n your man.”

 

Related Posts:

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

January 3rd, 2015

 

Alex and Tina attempt to put me In a double arm bar, unless I agree to tell one more Abe Lincoln story.
“Sorry Alex and Tina, you’ve reached your daily limit!”

Friday was my interview on the Morning Blend (KGUN 9 TV), with genial hosts Alex Steiniger and Tina Jennings, to discuss “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.”

I had a chance to tell Lincoln’s “Pitchfork and Dog” story and one of my own stories, based on Lincoln’s storytelling techniques, “the Doctor and the Hot Mama.”

 

Here is the complete interview :

 

 _________

 

Upcoming Presentations or Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Feb. 4, 2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of Story,” to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

 

Related Posts:

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

December 13th, 2014

 Abraham Lincoln’s “Teeth Will Be Provided” Story

 The fiery Irish minister was preaching on the End Times – and in particular on the Day of Judgment. As he reached the climax of his address he said that on the Day of Judgment “You will all wail and gnash your teeth.”

At which point an old woman raised her hand and said, 

“Preacher, I ain’t got no teeth.”

The Minister replied, “Madam, on this great Judgment Day, teeth will be provided. “

Radio Interview

During my radio interview with Bob Schmidt (WLFN 1490 A.M.) on Friday, I discussed how Abraham Lincoln used body language, facial expressions, and voice mimicking to make a story effective.

 “Be the ball, Danny”

 In the movie Caddyshack, Chevy Chase earnestly instructed his young golf protégé,

 “Danny, there’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”

Likewise, one of Lincoln’s storytelling secrets was his ability “to be the story,” or, by putting himself so much into the story and into each character of the story, he and the story became one.

William Herndon

William Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner, said,

“Lincoln’s power of mimicry and his manner of recital were unique. His countenance and all his features seemed to take part in the performance.”

Do’s and don’ts of Lincoln storytelling     

Here are the “do’s” and “don’ts” in the Lincoln school of storytelling:

Do:

1) Give each character a personality: a voice, a stance, a way of moving.

2)Use words to vocalize an emotion, and use facial expressions to visualize the emotion.

3) Add interest to your voice by varying your rate of delivery, your volume, your pitch, your inflections, and your word emphasis.

Don’t:

1) Be overly melodramatic; keep expressions and gestures subtle.

2) Be afraid to have some fun.

For a great example of using body language and facial expressions to communicate, watch Charlie Chaplin in the boxing scene from his masterpiece “City Lights.”

Learn to mimic voices

Much of Lincoln’s success as a story teller was due to a talent for mimicry. Author T. G. Onstot said,

“In the role of story-teller, I never knew his equal. His power of mimicry was very great. He could perfectly mimic any accent.”

In my case, I use voices of famous actors as voices for the characters in my stories. Some of the voices I use are John Wayne (for any cowboy-type, or tough-guy character), Henry Fonda (for Abraham Lincoln, or “good guy” characters), Jack Nicholson (for bad or slimy guys), a teenager whose voice is breaking (for teenagers or scattered brained characters), Eeyore, from Winnie the Pooh, or Goofy, (for a slow thinker or a frightened person).

Here are some tips on how to mimic voices:

1) Watch videos on YouTube of the person you want to imitate;

2) Practice saying the same words that they say;

3) Practice at least four times a day;

4) Make a video of yourself doing impressions;

5) Anytime you read a book to children, practice using different voices for each character when you read a book to the class.

In developing a “minister voice,” a voice that Lincoln would have used in the “Teeth Will Be Provided” story, I watched

Reverend Lovejoy

videos of Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons. Some keys to learning the minister voice were to speak slowly, to deepen my voice at the end of a sentence, to stretch out the last word of each sentence, and to incorporate a slight southern twang.

Don’t worry if your impersonations are not perfect. Mine never are. Impersonations just need to be good enough to allow the audience to identify the characters.

 

———————————————————————————————

 FREE on Kindle only December 25!

“How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones.” Download

Reviews are appreciated!

———————————————————————————————-

Upcoming Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Dec 17, 6:10 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the dynamic Dan Ramey, WBEX Radio 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio. Web broadcast on http://www.wbex.com/onair/dan-mike-in-the-morning-3786/.

Dec. 30, 6:08 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the genial and witty Jeff Anderson, KSDR AM, Watertown, SD.

Jan. 2, 11:00 -noon (Mtn. time). Interview on the Morning Blend with hosts Tina Jennings and Maria Parmigiani, KGUN9-TV, Tucson, AZ.

Feb. 4 ,2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

Podcasts of Previous Interviews

Dec. 11, 2014. Interview with the redoubtable Rich Peterson, KROC Radio 1340 AM, Rochester, Minnesota. Podcast.

Related Posts:

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

 Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

December 11th, 2014

Rich Peterson

During the congenial radio interview with (the redoubtable) Rich Peterson of KROC 1340 AM in Rochester, Minnesota, we touched on:

1) How to find good stories to tell, and;

2) What are the characteristics that comprise a good story?

My response (with some bells and whistles added after the fact) went like this:

Finding and preserving stories

 Stories can be found everywhere – books television, movies, church. Some of the best stories are the ones we hear from friends, or overhearing from other conversations throughout the course of our day. The stories are out there like apples on a tree, ready to be picked. The key is to remember them.

In my case, when I hear a story that I want to remember, I immediately write it down. If I’m in my house, I write it in a notebook or in my desk calendar. I also carry re-cycled envelopes in my pocket to jot down story ideas, when I’m outside the house. They are especially useful when I am taking the dog for a walk, or going to church. When I return home, I transfer the story to my notebook or calendar.

The next step is to “Lincolnize” the story, or transform the story so that it is no longer just “a story” but it becomes “your” story.

The Lincoln Storytelling Template

 Use this template to frame your story in the same electric style that Lincoln used to tell his stories. Follow Lincoln to reap the harvest of a typical Lincoln story and:

1.  Connect with your listener.

2.  Generate laughter.

3.  Enlighten your listener.

 Step One – Opening sentence

Segue from topic being discussed to the story:

“That reminds me of a when I  . . .” or,

“Let me illustrate that point . . .” or,

“Speaking of . . . one time I when I was  . . .  .”

 Personalize the story. Never start a story by saying “A man walked into a bar.” Instead say, “I walked into a bar,” or, “My friend, Frank, walked into a bar.” Just jump into the story without prefacing it with “Here’s a funny story” or “I heard a story the other day.”

Step Two – Tell your story with pizzazz

 Tell a story to illustrate your point:

 “When I tried to make telephone calls to the U.S. I had to wait a long time . . .  .” (From a Peace Corps story I tell).

 Become one with the story. Give each character a personality.

Step Three – Thought provoking conclusion

Wrap up with a moral or humorous twist:

“If you don’t shake every hand, you can’t talk to Aunt Fran.” (From the Peace Corps story).

Place this succinct message of the story into your final sentence.

He is a link to the Rich Peterson – Abe Lincoln Storyteller interview.

———————————————————————————————

 FREE on Kindle only December 25!

“How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones.” Download

Reviews are appreciated!

———————————————————————————————-

Upcoming Presentations or Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Dec 12, 2014, 6:15 am (Mtn. time) the indomitable Bob Schmidt, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, Wisconsin. Listen in at http://www.1490wlfn.com/bs_with_bob_schmidt.html.

Dec 17, 6:10 am (Mn. time). Interview with the dynamic Dan Ramey, WBEX Radio 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio. Web broadcast on http://www.wbex.com/onair/dan-mike-in-the-morning-3786/.

Jan. 2, 11:00 -noon (Mtn. time). Interview on the Morning Blend with hosts Tina Jennings and Maria Parmigiani, KGUN9-TV, Tucson, AZ.

Feb. 4, 2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

Related Posts

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

November 28th, 2014

  Abraham Lincoln said, “Stories are the shortest path between strangers and friends.”

Lincoln’s version of a Facebook page was his one-on-one and face-to-face telling of stories to everyone he met. Stories allowed him to connect with people and win their respect in the shortest possible time. Not a bad skill for a politician to have.

Everyone who walked into Lincoln’s law office was told a story before they left. John H. Littlefield observed,

“No matter how busy Lincoln might be, whenever anyone came in he would inevitably greet him with a pleasant or funny comment, and before he left would always tell a joke or anecdote. Often he told the same story four or five times in the course of a day (to different visitors), and every time laughed as heartily as anyone.”

Toastmaster Conference Presentation Update

My seminar at the District 13 Toastmaster Conference, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones (and how you can too),” went extremely well. I may have made my presentation with my heart on my sleeve and spaghetti sauce on my tie, but I received very positive feedback afterwards. Books sold like hot cakes.

 

 Upcoming Presentations or Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Dec. 11, 7:15 am (Mountain time). Interview with the redoubtable Rich Peterson, KROC Radio 1340 AM, Rochester, Minnesota. Web broadcast on http://krocam.com/author/richp/.

Dec 12, 2014, 6:15 am (Mttn. time) the indomitable Bob Schmidt, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, Wisconsin. Listen in at http://www.1490wlfn.com/bs_with_bob_schmidt.html.

Dec 17, 6:10 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the dynamic Dan Ramey, WBEX Radio 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio. Web broadcast on http://www.wbex.com/onair/dan-mike-in-the-morning-3786/.

Dec. 30, 6:08 am (Mtn. time). Interview with the genial and witty Jeff Anderson, KSDR AM, Watertown, SD.

Rich Peterson

Bob Schmidt

Dan Ramey

Jeff Anderson

Related Posts

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

October 29th, 2014

In order to win a man to your cause, you must first reach his heart, the great high road to his reason.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

In a lesson that aspiring candidate for the 2016 election, such as Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush, could learn from, Abraham Lincoln captured the Republican Nomination for the Presidency in 1860 by not criticizing his opponents.

Of the four candidates running for the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 1860, Lincoln had the very least amount of experience. Compared to the other candidates, who were all political “heavy weights,” Lincoln was considered a political “light weight.”

A Stunning Upset

It’s like the scene in the movie Rocky, where a TV interview shows challenger Rocky Balboa pounding frozen cow carcasses like punching bags in preparation for the big fight. The Champion’s trainer is watching the TV and says,

“Hey, Champ, you should see this guy that you’re going to fight. It looks like he means business.”

The champ is on the phone busily lining up endorsements for the fight and absentmindedly replies,

“Yeah, I mean business too.”

But you could see in his demeanor that he didn’t really comprehend the approaching “tsunami-zilla” that Rocky represented, just as Lincoln’s opponents underestimated him.

Lincoln the Underdog

Wm Seward

On the surface, Lincoln’s rivals for the nomination had nothing to fear from him. Lincoln’s only political experience on the national level consisted of two failed senate races and a single term in Congress, which he had served twelve years earlier. Contrary to Lincoln, the other three candidates for the nomination were widely known and respected by most Americans.

William Henry Seward, the front runner for the nomination, had been a celebrated U.S. senator from New York for more than a decade and governor of his state for two terms before he went to Washington, D.C.

Salmon Chase

Ohio’s Salmon Chase, a lookalike of the monster (Peter Boyle) in Young Frankenstein, also had been both senator and governor, and had played a central role in the formation of the national Republican Party.

Edward Bates -”You lookin’ at me?”

Edward (evil eye) Bates was a widely respected elder statesman, a delegate to the convention that had framed the Missouri Compromise, and a former congressman whose opinions on national matters were still widely sought.

Yet somehow, Lincoln, a political unknown, surprised almost everyone, and through some form of political jujitsu, outmaneuvered his opponents and captured the nomination.

In retrospect, we can see an explanation of how Lincoln accomplished this astounding feat.

Lincoln’s Stories Neutralize the Opposition

Lincoln had a huge advantage in the crucial area of communication and storytelling. Lincoln had an easy-going personality and a style of not directly attacking the opinions of others. Rather, he used persuasion and stories to win them over, resulting in no delegates at the convention being strongly opposed to him. When the other candidates split the vote, the affable Lincoln was the runaway “second choice” of the nominating convention. Lincoln could have been the poster boy for Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

The Lesson

Lincoln’s proficiency in storytelling eclipsed the experience and credentials of the other candidates. He never had to resort to mud-slinging or smear campaigns. Instead, Lincoln used stories to gently show people who disagreed with his policies the logical reasoning behind his decisions.

He didn’t view his opponents as enemies. His response was to view their perspectives as being no different than his own,  if he were in their shoes. They just needed things explained in the proper terms for them to fully grasp and support Lincoln’s view.

Lincoln’s goal was never to knock down his enemies like a row of bowling pins. He aimed to convince them to fall down voluntarily. Stories were the way he reached their hearts and minds.

See Also:

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

 What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me about the Power of Stories

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

Upcoming Presentations

On November 15, I will be presenting a 40 minute seminar on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones,” at the DoubleTree Inn in Tucson, Arizona for the 2014 Statewide Toastmaster (District 3) Conference.

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

September 22nd, 2014

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds & Funny Bones

 

“I am Terry Sprouse and I am a Lincoln-holic.”

But, let’s go back to where it all began.

I first became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras in 1986. Like most PCVs, I was starved for any reading material that was written in English, a thing more valuable to me than diamonds.

A Life Changing Book 

One day, I received a large package from my mother. It was book entitled “Abraham Lincoln – One volume edition” by Carl Sandburg.

I was captivated by the personality of Lincoln, as well as the elegant manner in which the book was written. As I read the book, I felt like I was experiencing a beautiful dream that I never wanted to end. I read the book through many times and highlighted passages that I wanted to remember.

I think the life of Abraham Lincoln is the most intriguing story in American history. Poor farm boy rises, like Venus from the half-shell, against all odds, to become President of the United States. And beyond the Presidency, he achieves legendary status through unparalleled displays of grace, charm, and good humor.

I planted a goal in my mind to write a book that would inspire people the way that Sandburg’s book had inspired me, and maybe even write a book about Lincoln. I read everything I could get my hands on about Lincoln.

28 Years Later- The Book is Written

Fast forward 28 years. I have been a member of Toastmasters (public speaking club) for several years, and I delivered several speeches about Abraham Lincoln. In 2012, I completed a book with my wife (Turn Your House into a Rental House Instead of Selling It!) and I was casting about for a topic for my next book.

Then, the goal that I had planted in my mind to write a book about Lincoln came back to me. I initially thought to write a book containing Lincoln’s best jokes that I could sell in conjunction with my making Lincoln speeches at various groups and organizations.

Gradually the book got longer and stronger, as I decided that some supplemental text would make it all the more interesting. I added chapters on the techniques that Lincoln used to tell his stories –mimicry, self-deprecating humor, and adding a moral to the end. Then another chapter on childhood influences that molded young Abe into a storyteller. Another on how he “Lincolnized” old stories to make them his own.

Throwing modesty to the wind, I also included a chapter on how I use Lincoln-like stories to teach my young boys valuable lessons and in radio interviews to promote my books.

I presented many of my ideas in speeches to my Toastmaster Club. In the process of writing the speeches and receiving feedback from club members, the text improved, and ultimately wound up as content in my final book.

With the publication of my Lincoln book, the 28 year wait is over and my mind is at ease.

Yes, I am a Lincoln-holic, and gratified to be in such good company.

 

See also:

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

How I Evicted A Problem Tenant in 4 Steps

May 4th, 2014

I recently did my first tenant eviction. It’s something I always felt a little queasy about doing, since the procedure was kind of hazy to me. But I found the whole process fairly easy.

Contrary to widespread misconceptions,  the justice system favors the landlord. If a tenant violates the contract, the law is on the side of the landlord. And, not having enough money is an unacceptable reason not to pay the rent.

I had a tenant that had a habit of paying late. I warned him that this can’t continue, yet after the warning he I still didn’t receive his payment on the due date – the first day of the month.

Here are the steps that I took to remove him:

1.)  I filled out a “Pay or Quit” form that gave him 5 days to pay up or remove himself from the premises. I taped it to the front door and mail a copy to tenant. I made a copy of this form from my copy of the Arizona Landlord’s Deskbook.

2. ) He didn’t pay or leave so I went to the County Courthouse and filled out a form to set a court date to have him evicted. I paid $42 to process the paperwork and $40 to the County Constable to hand deliver the Eviction Summons to the tenants. The Summons named the tenant as defendant, stated the date and time of the trail, and listed the amount of money they owed. It took one week before we could get a trial date.

3.) At the trial, my wife and I show up, but the tenants do not. The judge awards the judgement to my wife and I and gives us a paper ordering the tenants to leave and to pay the costs, which includes an additional $85 for Court Costs. The Judge’s Eviction Notice gives the tenant 5 more days to get out.

4.) We mail a copy of the verdict to the tenant and he is out before the 5 days is up. We don’t anticipate getting the last month’s rent, but our main goal was to remove them from the premises.

The entire process is simple enough that it can be done without a lawyer. However, in the court I saw one tenant who had hired a lawyer to represent her. The rest of the landlords that I saw did not have lawyers.

My only regret was that I waited longer then I should have to file the paperwork with the county. I negotiated with the tenant, which turned out to be futile, instead of moving forward. It would up taken about of month to actually remove the tenant. Had I acted quicker, he could have been out in half the time.

Overall, going through the process was empowering because it gave me confidence that the government is there to assist landlords to remove problem tenants.

Excuses for not paying rent

I have found that tenants can afford to pay for cable TV, new Ipods, big screen televisions, yet they can’t afford to pay the rent. I often think to myself, “Something is wrong with this picture.”

Here are some sad but true excuses that tenants have come up with (from The Landlord Protection Agency at http://www.thelpa.com). If you hear excuses like these, it’s probably time to start the eviction process.

“I had to pay my car registration & I owed my former landlord money.”

“Oh come on. You’re gonna harass me on Valentines Day?”

“We are expecting a couch delivery in the next few days.”

“You know with Christmas gifts and parties, we’re a little short on the rent this month.”

“My last landlord had no problem with me paying late. This seems to be a real big issue with you.”

“Sorry I said I would have the rent and the late fee. I lied. So where do we go from here?”

“I would have paid the rent, but I though I needed it more than you.”

“So many things came up this month that I had to deal with. Now I don’t have the rent money. Sorry. I don’t know what to do. I’m sure not gonna borrow it.”

“I lost my cell phone with your number in it. That is why I couldn’t call you to tell you what happened!”

“We had to use the rent to pay our electric bill. They were gonna turn us off if we didn’t pay the whole bill.”

“Why you bothering me? I told you I work 2 jobs and don’t have time for this!”

“I would have paid your rent, , but I had to make the car payment.”

“I did not pay the rent when I said I could because that is the only day I can sleep late.”

“Turn Your Home Into a Rental House” is 2013 National Best Book Award Winner

November 17th, 2013

I’m pleased to announce that the book that Angy and I recently authored:

“Turn Your Home Into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It!” is the winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Award: Real Estate Category. Here is a link to the contest web page.

       


 

 

 

 

 

The USA Book News Press Release:

For Immediate Release
November 2013
Contact: USA Book News
E-mail USA Book News

 USA BOOK NEWS

ANNOUNCES

WINNERS AND FINALISTS

OF

BEST BOOK AWARDS

MAINSTREAM & INDEPENDENT TITLES SCORE TOP HONORS

in the 10th ANNUAL USA BEST

BOOKS AWARDS

LOS ANGELES –USABookNews.com, the premier online magazine featuring mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists ofTHE 2013 USA BEST BOOKS AWARDS on November 14, 2013. Over 400 winners and finalists were announced in over 100 categories. Awards were presented for titles published in 2012 and 2013. Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of USA Book News, said this year’s contest yielded over 1500 entries from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists. 

Highlights include the following Award-Winning Titles: (Fll results listing available on USABookNews.com)

Animals/Pets: General

Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals by Con Slobodchikoff, PhD
St. Martin’s Press
978-0-312-61179-8

Autobiography/Memoirs

IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six by Anthony Flacco with Jessica Buchanan & Erik Landemalm
Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
978-1-4767-2516-1

Business: Real Estate

Turn Your Home into a Rental House Instead of Selling It by Terry Sprouse and Angy Sprouse
Planeta Books LLC.
0978-1-979-85665-5

Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction

In the Beginning: Moral Tails in an Immoral World (Maurice’s Valises) by J.S. Friedman, illustrations by Chris Beatrice
Mouse Prints Press
978-9491613036

Keen says of the awards, now in their eleventh year, “The 2013 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States. With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of the USA Best Book Awards, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”

Winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape: St. Martin’s Press, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, John Wiley & Sons, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hay House, Llewellyn Worldwide, Thomas Dunne Books, Oxford University Press, American Cancer Society and hundreds of independent houses contributed to this year’s outstanding competition.

Keen adds, “Our success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise.”

USABookNews.com is an online publication providing coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community.

A complete list of the winners and finalists of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards are available online athttp://www.USABookNews.com.

 

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7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

August 11th, 2013

 

Bob Schmidt, Radio Host “Extraordinaire”

I was interviewed last Tuesday about my book, Turn Your Home into a Rental House, by Bob Schmidt of WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Bob is one of my favorite radio show hosts. He asks good questions, he laughs at my little jokes, and he keeps the whole interview light hearted and fun. Here is a link to that interview (my interview begins at the 16:50 minute mark.)

I was also on his show in 2009 to promote, Fix em Up, Rent em Out. That was one of my very first radio interviews. After the show I called Bob to ask him if he had any advice for me on how to promote my book.

In my “radio interview notebook” I still have the written notes of what he told me. Here they are, verbatim.

Bob Schmidt Book Promo Advice

1.) To book guest appearances call the radio show after hosts are off the air, and talk to the producer or the host. They  don’t respond to email. They want to hear your voice.

2.) Tell them you are the author of a book and succinctly describe “the hook,” or how his/her listeners will benefit from you being on the show.

3.) Make sure you get the host/producer name correct. They are very egotistical and will be insulted if you get it wrong.

4.) During the interview be entertaining and provide helpful information.

5.) Call local TV producers, say I am a local author, and I am fixing up houses. They can film the process.

6.) Contact newspaper home sections.

7.) Fix your website. Put a chapter from the book on it, or provide a prominent link to Amazon where they can get more information about your book.

Why I Like Radio

Radio has been an important component of my book promotion plan.

I use three different ways to reach people, like a three legged stool. One way is the internet, but believe it or not, not every is on the internet. A second way is by giving speeches to groups and organizations. The third way is by radio. It takes all three legs to hold up the stool.

Radio is great because radio shows have time they need to fill, and they guests are one way to do that. It’s fun to be interviewed and you can reach huge audiences from the comfort of your living room. In addition, when a host likes you they invite you back to their show.

Since I started doing radio shows in 2009, I have appeared on 50 shows (and 2 television shows). So far, I have sold 3,300 copies of my books.

To put things in perspective, my friend Joe Sabah has been on over 700 radio shows, and has sold 23,750 copies of his books.

As I like to say, Joe and I together have sold over 27,000 books.

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ. http://wrnjradio.com (to listen live).

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

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